By on July 5, 2016

1971 Mercury Montego sedan in California Junkyard, front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It’s not hard to find Detroit sedans of the early to mid 1970s in California self-service wrecking yards, and so I usually don’t photograph stuff like ’73 Olds 88s or ’76 Chrysler New Yorkers unless they’re in pretty decent condition. However, the 1970-71 Mercury Montego is special because these cars (and their Cyclone cousins) have the craziest snouts of just about any vehicle from Detroit during the second half of the 20th century, thus I felt compelled to photograph this very battered example. It also pleases me to make Lincoln-Mercury loyalist Sajeev Mehta taste his own bitter tears, so here we go! (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2016

1989 Mercury Sable in Colorado junkyard, front view - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

The first-generation Mercury Sable, like its revolutionary Ford Taurus sibling, was a smash sales hit. Then, well, the plastic in those cool-looking “lightbar” grilles yellowed after a few years, sales of later Sables declined, and then the 1986-1991 Sables were just about all gone. I don’t see many first-gen Sables at U-Yank-It yards these days, though they were not uncommon just a few years ago.

Here is an appliance-white ’89 that I found in a Denver yard recently. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2016

1979 Ford Granada RH front view in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

I took my first driver’s test, in 1982, in a loathsome ex-rental-car 1979 Ford Granada sedan, a car that made my beige 1969 Toyota Corona sedan seem both fun to drive and cool by comparison. Since that time, it makes me happy each time I see a pre-Fox Platform Granada (or its Mercury sibling, the Monarch) in the junkyard. Where it belongs. (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

16 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

In 1983, Ford decided to put the Mercury Marquis on the new-ish Fox Platform, while the Grand Marquis remained on the Panther Platform (where it would stay until the bitter end). Confused? Hey, at least the Marquis/Grand Marquis split wasn’t as puzzling as, say, the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which was unrelated to the Corolla) or the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was only slightly related to the other US-market Stanzas).

Here’s a faded but generally solid ’83 Marquis woodie wagon I saw in Northern California in August. (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2015

00 - 1986 Lincoln Town Car in Colorado Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Mr. Mehta, lover of all things Ford (except, apparently, the Lincoln Mark VI), was quite put out by my failure to include the “Sajeev’s Bitter Tears” tag in the 1980 Mercury Capri Junkyard Find post last week.

Not wanting to put him in a bad mood for the upcoming Houston 24 Hours of LeMons race, I have since retrofitted that post with the appropriate weepiness, and as an added bonus I photographed this amazingly Sajeevian Town Car in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

00 - 1980 Mercury Capri in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Ford built cars on the Fox Platform for nearly or more than 20 years, depending on whether you consider the SN-95 Mustang to be a true member of the Fox family. However, most of the examples I see in junkyards aren’t of sufficient interest for me to photograph for this series.

The Foxes that have made the Junkyard Find cut tend to hail from the Malaise Era, probably because the Fox Platform was amazingly futuristic by the standards of the late-1970s/early-1980s. The Fox Capri (not to be confused with the European Ford Capri or the Australian-built, Mazda 323-based 1990s Capri) was uncommon back in the day and is now nearly extinct, so I whipped out my JDM Canon when I spotted this ’80 in a San Jose self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2015

18 - 1983 Lincoln Continental in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

In 1982, the 7th-generation Lincoln Continental went to the Fox Platform, elbowing the Fox-based Lincoln Versailles aside. These cars didn’t hold their value so well, which meant that you won’t see many these days.

Here’s a reasonably solid example I saw at a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard two months ago. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2015

08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year. Why? Well, that’s like asking why Henry Ford II refused Soichiro Honda’s offer of cheap CVCC engines for the Fiesta a few years before! Anyway, here’s an extremely green first-year LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD) that I spotted in Northern California a couple weeks back. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2015

12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2015

06 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYou just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks and Comets shows up in California wrecking yards. My guess, based on the 1980s and 1990s detritus I find in some of them, is that they spent a decade or three forgotten in a back yard or driveway before being sold to U-Wrench-It. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, this ’77 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’77 Maverick sedan. Let’s examine this Malaise Mainstay more closely. (Read More…)

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